28 February 2003

So you ever wonder which SF writer you're destined to marry? Apparently, it's Neil Gaiman for me. Alas, as the quiz kindly pointed out, he is already married. Which probably means I am destined to be alone. Good thing for me I like my own company.

So I got a draft of the short story done. It even has a middle, more or less. Have to send it in tomorrow; thank the gods for electronic submissions.

26 February 2003

I am trying very hard to finish a story to enter in the Clarke-Bradbury International Science Fiction Competition. It had very little middle when I first wrote it, and it persists in having very little middle. Argh!

And I just found an anthology to submit to. This one's the Small Press Expo Anthology for alternative comics.

21 February 2003

I just checked the 2002 Preditors & Editors Reader's Poll results . . . . My story "A Gift of Bones and Motley Feathers," published last autumn in Fables, placed 24th in the Short Story -- Romance category. Of course, that's number 24 out of 27, plus each place often has multiple stories (for example, "A Gift" is tied with two other stories for 24th place). I still can't figure out why the story ended up in Romance. I wrote it as fantasy. It has a not-happy ending. I don't write romance . . .

Just finished reading The Iron Woman by Ted Hughes. It's the sequel to The Iron Man, the book on which the wonderful animated movie The Iron Giant was based. I saw the movie first, and loved it. Then I encountered The Iron Man in a collection called The Puffin Book of Modern Fairy Tales, which had reprinted the first three parts. It was fabulous, and I wondered why they hadn't printed the whole thing. The anthology wasn't very thick, and could have stood the addition of a few more pages. So then I found The Iron Man (the whole thing) in a used bookstore. Yay! But when I read it, I discovered why Puffin had only included the first three parts in their anthology. The last two parts are just (or nearly) as well written, but the plot takes a sudden turn. It's a lovely story about a metal-eating giant robot, but you have to skip from wondering, "Where are they going to find enough metal to keep feeding him?" to the attack of a giant Space-Bat-Angel-Dragon (yes, I said Space-Bat-Angel-Dragon). I can't jump that far so suddenly; it hurts.

So what about The Iron Woman? Well, the writing is mostly still pretty gorgeous, except occasionally it's very bad. And the story is a blatant moral tale about how we are destroying the environment. Now, I don't have anything against such stories. The crappy things we are doing to our homeworld are deeply disturbing. On the other hand, I don't like being hit over the head with a heavy blunt object. To make things worse, the Iron Woman comes to save the day (with the help of the Iron Man, of course, because what woman could save the day on her own? aargh). She has the amazing powers of the Space-Bat-Angel-Dragon to help her out. She turns all the men into fish and other water creatures (great illustrations!). The world falls apart -- phones stop working, cars run out of gas, the electricity goes out -- because there are no men to run things (because what woman could run the world without a man? aargh). But then the Iron Woman sets things right once she's taught everyone (or, the men at least) their lesson ("Who will clean you up?" "Mother will clean me up.") This book was published in 1993!!

Well, I didn't mean to get quite so annoyed. I didn't hate the book that much. There were some good things in it. Nice illos. And I'm sure no one will listen to me, but my advice is this:

  • rent Iron Giant, watch it many times;
  • find a copy of The Iron Man, read the first three chapters many times;
  • do not, no matter how tempted you may be, read parts four and five of The Iron Man and especially don't read The Iron Woman.

    So there.
  • 16 February 2003

    So I'm going to be moving. Don't know where to yet, but somewhere. And so I have begun to pack, to get all the clutter out of the way so the house will look nice when people come to look at it. I have an awful lot of clutter. And an awful lot of action figures. And how come a few shelves worth of books translate into many, many boxes of books? It's all a mystery.

    I just finished reading E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel late last night. It's a thought-provoking book, at least for writerly types like me. I'm currently writing a review of it for my About Creative Writing for Teens site (yes, I am an About Guide; you can be, too).

    I keep working away at my comic. And my fiction. I want to enter a contest that ends on the 28th of February, so I'd better get some serious work done . . .

    12 February 2003

    I think all I did today was shop. Comics first, of course. I spent too much money, of course. And I still didn't fill very many gaps in my collection (of course). But some coolness occurred. Just the other day I was wondering, "I wonder what happened to Paul Pope. I haven't seen anything by Paul Pope in ages." (Which may, of course, have something to do with the fact that I haven't been in a comic shop in ages.) So what did I find in the comic shop today? 100% by Paul Pope. Only issues 1 and 4 (of course), but I haven't quite exhausted the comic shopping possibilities in this town yet.

    Then I got assorted issues of old favourites -- Poison Elves, A Distant Soil, Strangers in Paradise, Love and Rockets -- and a few new things (well, new to me at least). Vertigo's Fables looks interesting, and I found the first issue of 30 Days of Night, which I had heard was nearly impossible to find. Apparently not in Victoria. They had a stack of them, plus an equal number of issue three (and yet not a single copy of issue two). Strange.

    But the really cool thing is a book called Nightmares & Fairy Tales. I found number four, and it's a self-contained story. A very beautiful and twisted version of Snow White. If you have any interest in comics, you really must read this.

    After that, more shopping. Swooshy skirts and things (and books) from Value Village. Food from two different grocery stores. The usual things to keep one alive (not that I really need swooshy skirts to stay alive, but I gotta cover my lower half with something, and why not make that something swooshy and fun? Especially if it has those little tinkly, jingly things on the ends of the drawstring.) (I do believe I mentioned that I'm easily amused.)

    But now I have to go write and draw and otherwise make my own comic book happen (more on that when there's something worth telling). Also, I might sleep. Or maybe just drink more tea.

    11 February 2003

    It's been a really, really, really long time since I bought any comic books. I'm suffering withdrawal, though reading the Comics Journal's blog helps a little. Reading the odd webcomic, like Bite Me: A Webcomic for the Distinguished Vampire also makes it better. Mostly. But tomorrow I'm going comic shopping! Yay! I'm so happy. And also easily amused.